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* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Spell Bound, by Rachel Hawkins ***** This is a great followup to the last one, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Okay, maybe I wasn't totally thrilled with the losses (ack), but I felt like it was realistic for the story. I also liked the twists with the Brannicks, Sophie's mom, and learning more about the Eye and the Prodigium. Sophie's kick-butt attitude is great, and I also enjoyed Elodie's way of dealing with things (though I felt for Cal and Archer when Elodie got her hands on Sophie). The ideas behind the different magical abilities and the ways in which demons work becomes clearer here, as well -- so for me, it strengthened the world-building even more. I felt like this tied up the current plot lines nicely, but there's still room for more (I haven't heard if there will be more or not?). The story: Sophie finds herself with the Brannicks after her escape (at the end of Demon Glass) -- and her mom is there! Things are not going well, and Sophie is worried about her dad (whose powers have been revoked), Cal and Jenna, and of course, Archer. Worse still are her own bound powers (and Elodie's insistence on 'possessing' Sophie for her own plans) and the new revelations about her mom's relationship with the Brannicks -- and what's truly going on with the Prodigium and Lara's plans for the demons. Although it looks like some things might be improving, then Sophie is 'sucked' back to Hex Hall -- but a Hex Hall which is falling apart...and with magic dampening spells in place, even the reappearance of Archer (who's being tortured), Cal, and Jenna can't cheer Sophie up for long. She really needs her powers back... (YA paranormal, released 3/12, publisher: Hyperion)
The Last Echo, by Kimberly Derting ***** Oh, I so enjoyed this. The suspenseful feel is strong throughout (and reminds me of good adult writers, like Linda Howard or Kay Hooper), and the complex relationships continue to deepen. I love how Violet is fighting to remain loyal to Jay (who clearly loves her) -- how she doesn't even want to consider Rafe...but as we learn more about Rafe and his past, he becomes more and more of a sympathetic character, and I've got to admit that part of me is hoping that Violet will find a way to care for him too. And that's what I enjoy about this series -- Derting takes what I love and expands it to change my hopes for the characters. The story: Violet has started working with Sara's special task force, which includes other teens with unusual gifts. Violet struggles to handle her gift, as she feels helpless to do anything to prevent the heinous crimes. Still, she feels she has to try and bring the murderers to justice -- but an unusual case has put her in one particular murderer's path, and soon Violet will be doing more than trying to match imprints -- she has to try and avoid becoming an imprint herself. (YA suspense, released 4/12, publisher: Harper Collins)
7 Clues to Winning You, by Kristin Walker ****+ This is a fun read! I so enjoyed Kristin's first book, and this was just as good. I liked how Blythe made her own way in the new school and how she fought to be herself. The humor really lightened some of the more angsty situations, and the romance was sweet. I also thought the original situation (where an embarrassing picture of Blythe is spread) was very realistic -- and I appreciated how the characters all learned from that. As with Kristin's first book, the characters are not only true to life, they help the reader see truths in general about people and families. The story: Blythe is spending her spring break planning the best senior year ever when her dad shares his news -- he's being considered for a promotion, which means the family will have to move. The move puts Blythe into her rival school (as the principal's daughter, no less), and because of a prank played the previous year, the entire school has seen an embarrassing picture of Blythe. When the seniors learn that Blythe is joining their school, the picture spreads even further, and Blythe's first days are a mishmash of humiliation and loneliness. At first, Blythe only wants revenge, and she uses guilt to convince her principal dad to cancel the Senior Scramble. But when her 'old' friends (ladies at a nursing home) show Blythe that she's being petty, she decides to help the Senior Scramble continue -- underground (ie, as a secret). Things spiral out of control, however, when Blythe's friends from her previous school get jealous at the amount of time she's spending with her new friends-- and when Blythe inadvertently uses on of them to help out her new school...and now the revenge is on her and will jeopardize Blythe's dad's position, along with Blythe's burgeoning relationship with a senior. (YA romantic comedy?, released 4/12, publisher: Razorbill)
[Gambing Men, by Amy Lane **** I enjoyed this. I liked both Jase and Quint, and I thought their relationship was intriguing. Although I did get tired of the constant gambling analogies (probably because I'm not a poker player and didn't always understand them), I thought the growth of their love for each other was realistic and nicely portrayed. Quint was my favorite, and I loved his vulnerability and his willingness to keep putting himself out there. Jase didn't seem quite as consistent to me, but I still liked him and wanted to see him find happiness. The story: Jase and Quint have been best friends and business partners for a few years -- but when Jase makes a move on Quint, Quint isn't sure how to take it. He's been in love with Jase since college, but he never thought Jase looked at him that way. As the two begin taking another look at their relationship, however, it's Quint's ability for loyalty that eventually overcomes Jase's distrust of love. (Adult romance, GLBT, released 5/12, publisher: Dreamspinner Press)]
[Acrobat, by Mary Calmes ***** I really liked this! I think it was such a great read for a couple of reasons: first,I loved Nathan. He's one of those characters who, for me, jumped off the page and seemed larger than life. Yes, there were moments when his general trust of people seemed naive, but I liked how Calmes pulled it off and kept him real (ie, his naivete was one of his weaknesses as well as one of his strengths). Second, I really liked Dreo. I liked how he was fighting so hard to do what was right -- and how he loved so deeply, but it didn't always show on the surface. For someone as good and giving as Nate, Dreo was a wonderful partner. I liked how they both had that ability to give and love, but they showed it in such different ways. The only complaint I had was that I wanted more -- I wanted the story to continue longer than it did. I hated to say good-bye to all of them. The story: Nate wishes he could find someone, but even he will admit that he's not always good at reading other people's motives and feelings. His ex-wife claims he's never been in love, and Nate knows deep down she's right -- but although he'll give whatever he can to anyone who asks, he always manages to keep his heart protected...until Andreo reveals his feelings. Nate has been watching over Dreo's nephew for a few years now, but he had no idea that Dreo noticed him. When Dreo's attentions come out, Nate is overwhelmed by the protectiveness rising up in him -- and his typical generosity comes into play, even as Dreo is trying to get out of a mob-like position which puts him and Nate in danger. (Adult romance, GLBT, released 5/12, publisher: Dreamspinner Press)]
Currently Reading: Endure
On Deck: Four others (calling my name...)